The history of the NFL is laced with everything from underdog stories to dominating dynasties to the average team winning the Super Bowl with some luck. Every season we see a team take home the Super Bowl trophy and then we start focusing on the next one. As an NFL fan, it’s easy to get lost in the victories and forget about all the teams that have never had their time as champions.
Out of the 32 NFL teams, 13 of them have never won a Super Bowl. That means 40% of the teams in the NFL haven’t been able to grace their fans with a win on the game’s biggest stage and take out the ultimate prize. That means decades of struggles, and dozens of ‘this is our year’ seasons that ended with a quick toss out of the playoffs or a heart-wrenching loss in the Super Bowl.
— Alex Greenwood (@a_greenwood) November 6, 2016
The list of the teams that have never won a Super Bowl even includes some shockers, and some teams that, well, aren’t so surprising.
Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles are the teams yet to taste Super Bowl glory (Note: does not include NFL Championship wins; Super Bowl wins since 1967 only).
It’s surprising the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl since they are the only team in the NFC East not to win one. They’ve had two appearances, the first a 27-10 loss to the Raiders in 1980, while the devastating 24-21 loss to the Patriots in 2004 is what Tom Brady cut his teeth on.
If you think two appearances with no victory is odd, wait until you hear about the Bills making it to the Super Bowl four times in a row without winning. The Bills set the record for almost winning between 1990 and 1993. The Vikings have also had four appearances without a win, with their Super Bowl outings coming between 1969 and ’76.
— ESPN Films 30 for 30 (@30for30) December 13, 2015
Well, at least these teams got a chance to play in the Super Bowl, right? There are still four teams that have never even made an appearance. One of them is the Detroit Lions. I’ll let you guess the other three. Done? Wow that was quick, it only took you a couple seconds. The Browns, Texans, and Jaguars have never had the chance to play for the trophy – and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.
How should we expect this to change in the coming years? Many thought this was the Cardinals’ year, but things just haven’t been working out in that direction. The Falcons could have a shot at it this year with this new explosive offense that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Unexpected things happen in 3’s right? Please let #3 be the Falcons winning the Super Bowl
— Brian O’Hern (@BrianOHern) November 10, 2016
Cam Newton almost took Carolina’s first championship home last year, but the Broncos gave Peyton Manning a going away present instead. The Super Bowl showdown early next year is probably going to be going home with the Patriots, but things may change up in the coming campaigns.
In the next five years, I would be surprised if one of the Vikings, Eagles, Panthers, Falcons or Bills don’t make an appearance at the very least. With Tom Brady retiring, the AFC will have a power gap that needs to be filled, and the NFC is ripe for the picking.
It also seems like the Browns have had a full pendulum swing into the worst shape they might ever be in, so I wouldn’t be surprised that they could have a swing back into Super Bowl territory in the next few seasons. If LeBron could put Cleveland on the map with the Cleveland Cavaliers win and the Cleveland Indians featured in the World Series, it’s only fitting the city start hyping up the Browns after this disastrous season.
— Del Reid (@DelReid) November 11, 2016
— RaRa Man (@GuidoDelucci) November 11, 2016
Given the extraordinary run of sporting teams around the world breaking long-running droughts and securing maiden triumphs this year, it would seem appropriate that the NFL celebrates a new Super Bowl champion.
But for now, fans of the 13 title-less franchises can only dream of success, and wonder what it feels like to see someone wearing their jersey lifting the Lombardi Trophy.